Whether a short story is meaningful and gritty or light entertainment, a good one is a work of art. It’s a brief encounter. It’s a glimpse into another life. It’s complete and self-contained. With no room for padding, the short story also bares the elements of the writing craft – your writing craft – to scrutiny. It’s like illuminating a single painting on an otherwise empty wall.
The great thing about a short story is that it is short. Whether the word count is in the hundreds or in the thousands, completing it is within your capabilities. It doesn’t swallow up a year or two of your life as a novel might; there is one story strand for you to manage not several and there’s no room for a throng of characters.
Successful fiction writing normally depends upon a mixture of ability and technique. There are no opportunities to allow the characters to 'develop', or for situations to 'arise' as in a novel. Within a few hundred words the story must seize the reader's attention, develop and end - preferably with an unexpected twist.
‘Technique’ is where the London School of Journalism comes in. This course and the one-to-one contact with your tutor will provide you with what you need to develop your own style and skills and greatly improve your chances of becoming a successful published writer.
An overview of short stories, problem and resolution, central characters. Why and because...making writing fun. Presentation, spelling and grammar.
Where do we get ideas. The importance of titles. Making openings jump into action. Genres and themes.
Plotting and planning. The importance of structure. What is an idea and what is a plot? Writing an outline.
How to construct key moments, when are they important? Making satisfactory endings.
Emotion and motivation. History and biography. What other influences? Body language.
Get your characters to create and show the plot instead of telling it.
Characterisation is further examined, how characters can be made three-dimensional on paper. What people are can be revealed by what they say and therefore effective dialogue is reviewed.
What is it and why is it important? First, second and third person. Narrators and actors.
Using your own knowledge and experiences. Research without the info overload.
The building blocks that make good writing. Power and beauty of language. Editing and polishing.
Causing an impact. Types of conflict and how they affect your character.
Study the market. Magazines, short stories and serials.
How the written word differs from the spoken. Making the most of the medium.
Tips and suggestions with some words of advice.